Blotchy Wraps

By Tom Kirkman

Here's a Question from Volume 3 - Issue #3 issue of RodMaker magazine:

RodMaker Magazine

I have been having problems with my thread wraps becoming very blotchy and uneven colored when I apply epoxy rod finish. I am using color preserver, and always thin it about 50/50 with water and then 2 coats. I use the U-40 LS2000 rod finish and like it except for the blotches that appear on the thread when it goes on. Would different finish correct this problem? Do I need to switch to a different thread brand? What about not using any color preserver? I like to preserve the bright color of the thread, but will stop using it if it is causing the blotches. ~ Matt, Brooklyn, NY

One of the main purposes of color preserver is to seal the thread against penetration by the eventual epoxy finish. If epoxy or urethan wrap finish penetrates the threads, they will darken, becoming almost translucent. The problem you are having, is not with the epoxy finish, but rather with your color preserver or the method you use with it.

If the color preserver properly penetrates and seals the threads, the epoxy finish will not penetrate those same threads and thus they will not darken, either overall or in spots. In your case, the color preserver is not fully sealing the thread and preventing the epoxy from getting in there. Wherever the epoxy penetrates the threads, you wind up with a dark area. Where it is prevented from penetrating, the thread keeps its bright color. Hence the blotchiness you speak of.

There are a couple of things to look at here. You did not specify the type of color preserver you are using. I will assume it is a water base acrylic type (most are). By thinning it so heavily you are, in effect, pretty much just applying water to your thread. The water evaporates, and the solids in the color preserver were not there in sufficient amount to completely seal the thread. The epoxy then penetrates in some spots and you get dark areas. I do not know if the instructions that came with your particular color preserver stated that you needed to thin it. I do know that I rarely thin my color preserver, unless it has started to thicken in the bottle and needs to be restored to its original consistency.

Another possibility is that your application is not thorough enough to fully penetrate and seal the thread completely through to the blank. Remember that your expoxy will seep in around the edges and along inside the tunnel formed between the thread and guide foot. If it is able to penetrate the thread from underneath, it will darken just as if it had penetrated from outside of the thread.

My suggestion is twofold: Don't thin your color preserver any more than about 20% and not at all if it is thin enough to work easily and quickly penetrate the thread. Next, you should apply a full wet coat to the threads, making sure they turn uniformly dark. Allow it to penetrate a few minutes and then remove any excess. Work some in alongside the guide foot tunnel. Let it dry overnight, allowing for environmental difference, before applying the epoxy. You should be able to get nice results following this regimen.

I will also add that alcohol based color preservers tend to dry faster than water based ones. Remember that alcohol is more volatile than water and evaporates faster. With these color preserves you will have to work a bit quicker when applying and working it into the threads. You will not be able to go back 10 minutes later and remove the excess, if there is any, or you will disturb the surface of the preserver which has already set. ~ Tom Kirkman

Publishers note:

If you have any tips or techniques, send them along! Help out your fellow rodmakers! ~ Publisher, FAOL

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